New Jersey

Driver Arrested in New Jersey Hit-and-Run That Killed Man With Special Needs: Prosecutors

Authorities say they've arrested the hit-and-run driver who left Giovanni Rivera on the street in Garfield, New Jersey

What to Know

  • Authorities have arrested a man suspected of hitting a 42-year-old man in Garfield Monday night with his car, then fleeing the scene
  • The man, who has special needs, died on his own early Wednesday morning, before he was to be taken off life support
  • Giovanni Rivera's family says his condition had gotten worse and there was nothing else doctors could do to save his life

Prosecutors say they've made an arrest in the New Jersey hit-and-run that critically injured, then killed, a man with special needs Monday night.

Paul Frischer, a 59-year-old building superintendent from Franklin Lakes, has been arrested in the Garfield accident that initially sent Giovanni Rivera, 42, to the ICU, Bergen County prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Rivera was to be taken off life support at Hackensack University Medical Center Wednesday, but he died on his own around 4:30 a.m., his family said. 

Authorities said someone driving a Chevy Suburban hit Rivera around 7 p.m. Monday, then took off northbound on MacArthur Avenue. Responding police officers found Rivera lying in the roadway with serious injuries.

Giovanni Rivera has special needs, and the accident happened outside his group home. It's not clear whether he was trying to cross the street; residents say cars often speed in the 25-mph zone. 

"They said he was conscious, then an hour later my sister called me and it was bad news, saying it doesn't look good, he has severe hemorrhaging in his brain," said brother Thomas Rivera. 

His condition worsened and there was nothing else doctors could have done to save his life, according to his family. 

"I get accidents happen, but to do what they did and just leave him there, that's what we have a problem with," said Thomas Rivera. 

As news of Frischer's arrest spread Wednesday, relief flooded the neighborhood where the Riveras live.

"We are so happy they got him," said neighbor Lourdes Mota, calling Giovanni Rivera "a nice young man." 

Frischer was arrested at his home and is facing multiple charges including leaving the scene of a fatal accident and endangering an injured victim. He's being held at Bergen County Jail until his first court appearance Thursday morning. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately available. 

A funeral for Rivera is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Jorge Rivera Funeral Home in North Bergen. 

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